Youth at continuation schools are at higher risk for adult drug abuse problems. Current prevention programs may not fully impact on social influences which participate and maintain drug use in high risk settings wherein users are not a small minority of the teenagers, such as in continuation. Yet, programming has not been implemented and is sorely needed in this settings.
The specific aims of this study are: in Year 1, to investigate the impact of normative versus informational social influence on drug use among continuation school students through interviews with staff and students; in Year 1, to compare the immediate impact of standard social influence classroom-based components across comprehensive high school and continuation high school youth; at the end of Year 1 and in Year 2, to develop and pilot a complete social influence curriculum tailored for continuation high school students; in Year 2, to develop a standard community outreach approach to enhance the potential for success of the adapted social influences program; in Year 3, to complete an efficacy trial involving a three-group randomized design with a total of 24 continuation schools, in which the high risk youth-oriented program will be tested with or without a community outreach component (n=8 in each condition), against whatever program these schools usually offer at 8 other continuation schools (control condition), in Years 4 and 5, to complete an intense followup of a subset of these youth to compare the effects of these two programs on use of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs, as well as measure general changes in prevalence of student drug use at these schools; in Years 4 and 5, as a generalization study, to compare the efficacy of a re-written high-risk youth program with a standard social influences program and a physical consequences attention placebo in a small three-group randomized design involving comprehensive high schools (total n=9 schools); and finally, in Year 4, to test the immediate impact of the modified program at two non-school settings, on a small scale, to explore the application of this program to groups of youth of extreme risk. Taken together, these studies will demonstrate the capacity of social influence concepts to explain and enhance prevention of drug use among higher risk students.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Drug Abuse Epidemiology and Prevention Research Review Committee (DAPA)
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University of Southern California
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Los Angeles
United States
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Sussman, Steve; Pokhrel, Pallav; Ashmore, Richard D et al. (2007) Adolescent peer group identification and characteristics: a review of the literature. Addict Behav 32:1602-27
Sussman, Steve; Dent, Clyde W (2007) Five-year prospective prediction of self-initiated quitting of cigarette smoking of high-risk youth. Addict Behav 32:1094-8
Galaif, Elisha R; Sussman, Steve; Newcomb, Michael D et al. (2007) Suicidality, depression, and alcohol use among adolescents: a review of empirical findings. Int J Adolesc Med Health 19:27-35
Sun, Wei; Skara, Silvana; Sun, Ping et al. (2006) Project Towards No Drug Abuse: long-term substance use outcomes evaluation. Prev Med 42:188-92
Sussman, Steve; Valente, Thomas W; Rohrbach, Louise A et al. (2006) Translation in the health professions: converting science into action. Eval Health Prof 29:7-32
Sussman, Steve; Skara, Silvana; Rodriguez, Yaneth et al. (2006) Non drug use- and drug use-specific spirituality as one-year predictors of drug use among high-risk youth. Subst Use Misuse 41:1801-16
Weiner, Michelle D; Sussman, Steve; Sun, Ping et al. (2005) Explaining the link between violence perpetration, victimization and drug use. Addict Behav 30:1261-6
Sussman, Steve; Runyon, Bruce A; Hernandez, Rosendo et al. (2005) A pilot study of an alcoholic liver disease recurrence prevention education program in hospitalized patients with advanced liver disease. Addict Behav 30:465-73
Sussman, Steve (2005) Prevention of adolescent alcohol problems in special populations. Recent Dev Alcohol 17:225-53
Sussman, Steve; Dent, Clyde W (2004) Five-year prospective prediction of marijuana use cessation of youth at continuation high schools. Addict Behav 29:1237-43

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